Akira

I have literally watched this movie dozens of times throughout my life – probably the film I’ve watched the most ever – but it had been quite a while since the last time. I still remember buying the first VHS release, and paying something like $50 or $60 for it – and that tape got played to death (literally). Re-watching it now, it’s just as fantastic. I was surprised by how much I had forgotten story-wise – which made it that much more enjoyable to watch – but at the same time it’s amazing how so many tiny sequences or audio cues feel so damn familiar, like a background to my brain. It does sadden me that since 1988, we’ve still never seen another movie like it. I’ve also started re-reading the original manga series this week, something I also haven’t dug into in at least a decade or two.

Neo Tokyo

Continuing with my Katsuhiro Otomo marathon, Neo Tokyo is another anthology movie that was also first released in 1987 (same as Robot Carnival). This one only includes 3 shorts (and all together it’s only about 50 minutes long), but I’d say I enjoyed it more than Robot Carnival, especially the Otomo short, which is much more juicy than what we got from him in Robot Carnival. Surprisingly, I don’t remember ever watching this, so it must have been harder to get a hold of back in the day. Here’s a Wikipedia entry that describes each short.

Robot Carnival

Following my recent Tarantino marathon, I’ve decided to do one for Katsuhiro Otomo, certainly one of my favorite creators of all time. I plan on watching all the movies that he’s directed – and that includes his participation in anthologies – as well as the ones he’s listed as screenwriter (Roujin Z, Metropolis). I kicked things off tonight with Robot Carnival, an interesting anthology that came out in 1987. I do sort of remember watching it a long time ago, but I’d pretty much forgotten all of the segments. Otomo contributes the opening and ending segments only, but they’re quite neat. As for the rest of the shorts, they all – as the title of the anthology suggests – revolve around robots, and although they all have something interesting about them, some are definitely better than others (I especially liked Franken’s GearStrange Tales of Meiji Machine Culture: Westerner’s Invasion, and Chicken Man and Red Neck). This Wikipedia entry does a good job of describing each. I’m off to a good start.

Colony

After having watched the first 2 episodes of this, I can’t say it’s blowing me away or anything, but it’s the kind of series that my wife and I like to watch together (hidden mystery series, like Lost and Wayward Pines), and so we’re giving it a try. It’s got Sawyer, and Carlton Cuse (co-creator of Lost) is behind it, so it’s got a pedigree we like. And the initial setup is pretty neat – aliens (as far as we can tell) have colonized Earth, and you have a government that is working under them, and a resistance that is, well, resisting. I like that we still know nothing about these aliens, and the second episode featured a super creepy and intriguing scene with humans being prepared for something. We’re definitely in for a few more episodes.

Tokyo Ghost

When the first issue of this Rick Remender-written series came out, as I tried reading it, I really wasn’t feeling it for some reason – surprising, considering how much I like so much of Remender’s stuff (Deadly Class, Low, Black Science), that I like Sean Murphy art, and that it has a sci-fi cyberpunk-ish setting. Well, I recently decided to give that first issue another go, and this time I found myself fully enjoying it. Guess I had to be in the proper mindset to take it in. Now I’m all caught up (to issue 5, which marks the end of the first arc, with the next arc starting in April), and I have to say that it’s a really fantastic series so far. The art is gorgeous – the 2-page spread you see in this post is currently the wallpaper on my Mac – and the story just gets more and more interesting as it goes on. That first arc ends in quite an interesting spot, and I’m now anxiously waiting for the next issue to come out, to see where they’ll go.

Invisible, Inc.

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I don’t tend to play a lot of strategy games – especially not on PC – but as soon as Invisible, Inc. was announced I was interested in it. It’s no secret that I’m sucker for spy-related stuff, and I’m also a huge fan of the games that Klei Entertainment has been putting out (it’s one of my favorite indie studios). I was planning on waiting for the already-announced PS4 version, but when I saw it on a Steam sale, I decided to just go ahead an get it now to play on Mac. So far, I’m really loving it. I do have a soft spot for well-made turn-based strategy games (X-Com, Skulls of the ShogunFire Emblem), and this game really has a fun build-up, enveloped in a cyber-spy skin that I absolutely love. I’m glad I picked it up.

The Stanley Parable

Another Johnny-come-lately game for me is The Stanley Parable, which I was almost embarrassed that I hadn’t yet played – blame the fact that for me, playing games on my MacBook Air is still something I have to really push myself to do. The final push came from the fact that I had so much fun playing the teaser game Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist last month. The Stanley Parable is indeed a really neat experience, although it was slightly ruined for me because I got the ending that gives you a museum tour of the entire game on my second try, and so pretty much got spoiled on most of the other endings. I also have The Beginner’s Guide in my Steam library, so I’ll be playing that soon as well. 

Super Hexagon

Even though it’s all everyone was talking about when it originally came out, for some reason I never got around to playing Super Hexagon. I finally got around to playing it recently (on iPad), and even though I am absolutely dumbfounded as to how I see on my friends list times as high as 70-90 seconds, I can see the genius in the simplicity of the gameplay. The addictive element is that you can immediately restart with no wait, so even though I’m barely reaching 10 seconds, I just keep trying, and trying, and trying…

Pocket Mortys

You like Pokémon games? You like Rick and Morty? Well have I got the game for you. I’ve personally never played a Pokémon game – have never been interested in playing one, and have no nostalgia for the series – but I do know what they’re all about, and so it’s pretty funny to see what they did with this iOS game, taking the same gameplay elements of fighting creatures and collecting them, but substituting the Pokémon for other dimensional Mortys instead. Sure, it’s not groundbreaking or anything, but it’s fun – and funny – as hell.

Rick and Morty

I’d watched a few episodes of Rick and Morty a couple of years ago, when they first aired, and loved them, but then kinda forgot to keep up with the show. As I’m playing the Pocket Mortys game right now, I figured it was a good time to catch up on the show, and in fact I’m plowing through both season 1 and 2. What a great show, so funny.